DHAKA, Feb 8, 2023 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today told the Parliament that Awami League government has proved that elections were held in a free, fair and neutral manner during its tenures and nobody can raise question over it.
"We've been able to prove that free, fair and neutral elections can only be expected during the tenure of Awami League government," she said.
To this connection, she referred to the Rangpur city corporation (RpCC) election and recently held by-election in six parliamentary constituencies.
The Leader of the House said this while taking part in the discussion on the thanksgiving motion of the President's speech at the Jatiya Sangsad with Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
She said that six by-elections were held just a few days ago where Jatiya Party won in one seat.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that in another seat BNP, MP, who resigned from the Parliament was elected again as an independent candidate.
"Moreover, we gave one to Rashed Khan Menon where the Jatiya Party candidate won. One gave to Hasanul Haque Inu and (his party candidate) won it in Bogra," she said.
She added that Awami League candidate won in two by-elections in Bogra and Chapainawabganj.
She continued: "No one could complain about RpCC Mayoral election where Jatiya Party won by defeating Awami League candidate".
The Premier said, "I think none will get chance to raise any issue about the election after that (RpCC and six by-elections)".
"Even though we are in power, we've fought for people's right to vote," she said, adding, "I think it is our responsibility to ensure that right to vote. And that's how elections are being held fairly in this country."
Sheikh Hasina said that discussion is always taking place but what was the scenario of election during the tenure of Ziaur Rahman. The country witnessed the "Yes" or "No" vote, ballot boxes missing and the Presidential vote in 1981 during Zia's tenure which demonstrated the ways of how vote was rigged.
Mentioning the election in 1986 where Awami League had participated, she said that they also witnessed how General Ershad changed the result of election withholding it for 48 hours.
In 1991 election, she said, no party got majority but BNP formed government joining hands with Jamaat.
BNP after their tenure in 1996 had arranged a voter-less election in February 15, she said, adding that "People never let to go anyone if their vote is stolen".
She continued: Khaleda Zia had to resign on March 30, meaning she had to leave (office) within one and a half month.
Then the Awami League assumed power after winning election, but conspiracy started again in 2001 over the sale of gas, she added.
Sheikh Hasina continued that BNP through the conspiracy went to power in 2001 and patronised terrorism, militancy, massive corruption and misdeeds which created an untoward situation in the country, resulting in proclamation of emergency again.
"Today, we've been able to keep the country on the path of development spree after freeing it from that situation (grasp of BNP's misdeeds)," she added.
The Prime Minister said that the government has built the Padma Bridge with its own funding, which was very much challenging.
"This one decision has brightened the image of Bangladesh internationally. The people who after 1975 thought that Bangladesh will never be able to stand up, their efforts eventually went in vain," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that the international status of Bangladesh has increased immensely as the country has proved that it can.
She said that Digital services are being launched in all areas and now the documents of land can be taken at home while any bill can be paid from home.
The government, she said, has been working for overall development of the country.
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh is sending medical teams, medicines, dry food to help the earthquake-hit people in Turkey and Syria.
Leader of the Opposition Begum Rowshan Ershad, Deputy Leader of House Matia Chowdhury, Chief Whip Nur-E-Alam Chowdhury and Deputy Leader of the Opposition GM Quader also took part at the discussion.